Churchbridge, SK (September 4, 2017) – Organic vegetable producers Veronique Bouchard and Francois Handsfield of Mont-Tremblant QC, were named the 2017 Outstanding Young Farmers (OYF) for the Quebec Region at their annual awards event held at the CentreExpo Cogeco de Drummondville on August 31.
With no farm history but shared values and dreams Veronique and Francois became owners of “ferme aux petits oignons” where they grow over 65 different vegetables, aromatic herbs, flowers and fruits that are certifed organic by Ecocert Canada. Protecting soil, water and energy is important Veronique who has a Masters in Environment and Francois who is a Bioresource Engineer.
The Quebec OYF region were pleased to have Mr. Jean Caron de Pionneer, Honorary President; Mr. Jean-Claude Poissant, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAulay and Mr. Martin Caron 2nd Vice-President of the Union of Agricultural Producers in attendance. Veronique Bouchard & Francois Handsfield along with Jacques Cloutier & Julie Bourdeau, Ferme Amico and Marie-Pierre Dubeau &. Sébastien Grandmont, Ferme Le Petit Mas were three outstanding finalists in the Quebec region. “What a beautiful evening to celebrate the excellence of agriculture” said Franck Groeneweg Canada OYF West Vice Chair. “Veronique Bouchard and Francois Handfield started with nothing and now produce vegetables on 10 acres that generate an impressive income while cherishing a balanced quality of life. I wish them well at the national competition in Penticton.”
The farm, located in a beautiful Laurentian valley, produces a wide variety of vegetables, all distributed in the immediate area. The farm is small, but profitable as they focus on control production costs. Their products are available at the summer market, directly at the farm store or through the internet subscription process for organic baskets they have developed.
The couple believe “they must constantly innovate and get off the beaten track” and are always willing to share their many innovations during workshops, visits to the farm and as mentors to new farmers/farms.
Celebrating 37 years, Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers’ program is an annual competition to recognize farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture. Open to participants 18 to 39 years of age, making the majority of income from on-farm sources, participants are selected from seven regions across Canada, with two national winners chosen each year. The program is sponsored nationally by CIBC, John Deere, Bayer, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through Growing Forward 2, a federal, provincial, territorial initiative. The national media sponsor is Annex Business Media, and the program is supported nationally by AdFarm, BDO and Farm Management Canada.
Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2017 will be chosen at the National Event in Penticton, BC from November 30 – December 3, 2017.
For more information or a photo of Veronique Bouchard & Francois Handsfield, contact:
Carla Kaeding, Program Manager, Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers